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Video captures the moment a pack of critical predators was reintroduced into the wild: 'This made my heart soar'

"We will continue our plan to release animals for the next few seasons."

"We will continue our plan to release animals for the next few seasons."

Photo Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Wolves may have a fearsome reputation, and perhaps rightly so, but they are essential to a healthy and functioning ecosystem. 

Video footage posted to YouTube by the Sierra Club — which describes itself as America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — shows the moment a pack of the large canine species is released back into the wild after federal protections were reinstated.

"Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department released the first ever wolves back into the state after last year's victory to regain their federal protections," the Sierra Club wrote with the video. "The 2022 decision reversed the Trump administration's delisting of the critical predator. This is a exciting victory for habitats and wildlife!"

The Trump administration rolled back federal protections in 2020, removing the animals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' endangered and threatened species list and opening up wolves to be hunted.

According to the Associated Press, as shared by the Guardian, these removals were attributed to the deaths of one-third of the gray wolf population in Wisconsin.  

While gray wolf numbers have recovered in the years since they were brought to near extinction in the mid-20th century, they are still not found in a range of areas they used to call home.

The Sierra Club's video shows the release of five of the 10 wolves captured in Oregon and brought to Grand County, Colorado. All were set free by December 2023. 

Wolves play a huge role in maintaining the balance of predator and prey numbers. They also allow other animals, including birds and smaller mammals, to feed on the carcasses of prey they have caught and eaten.

Furthermore, as Colorado State University detailed, wolves hunting elk at Yellowstone National Park has helped the restoration of willow and aspen trees that had been overeaten by increasing numbers of the deer species. 

"We will continue our plan to release animals for the next few seasons in order to ensure that wolves don't just survive but thrive in Colorado as they did a century ago," Colorado Parks and Wildlife director Jeff Davis said in a statement

Meanwhile, YouTube viewers were delighted to see the wolves returning to Colorado.

"This made my heart soar, and happy tears well up in my eyes, it was so encouraging," one comment read.

"May they thrive strongly, and keep the ecosystem humans have trashed in balance," another user said. 

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